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Charitable Purposes

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In Northern Ireland, a charity is defined as an institution which is established for charitable purposes only and is for the public benefit.  If an organisation is established for one or more of the 12 descriptions of purposes listed below, and is for the public benefit, then it will be required to register with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The 12 descriptions of charitable purposes are:

  1. the prevention or relief of poverty
  2. the advancement of education
  3. the advancement of religion
  4. the advancement of health or the saving of lives
  5. the advancement of citizenship or community development
  6. the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science
  7. the advancement of amateur sport
  8. the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity
  9. the advancement of environmental protection or improvement
  10. the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage
  11. the advancement of animal welfare
  12. any other purposes includes any purpose recognised as charitable under existing charity law and any purposes which may reasonably be regarded as analogous to the listed purposes above, as well as those by virtue of section one of the Recreational Charities Act (1958).

Please see NICVA’s article on Charitable Status for detailed guidance on getting charitable recognition.

Relevant legislation:

Charities Act (NI) 2013
Charities Act (NI) 2008
Recreational Charities Act 1958